The village of Lake George still remains a place frozen in time. In a time of upheaval and uncertainty, that consistency and familiarity is part of its charm -- along with its breathtaking beauty.
Nestled in the southern portion on the other side of the blue line marking the start of the Adirondack Park, the village retains its charm -- diners, the A&W stand, mini golf courses and motels abound.
What's different, of course, are people walking around with masks. And hotels offering hand sanitzer everywhere.
Lake George business leaders like what they saw this summer season given the challenges of the pandemic. Despite all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, people still traveled to Lake George to get that social distancing in. And tourism leaders like Gina Mintzer of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce are now promoting a fall tourism season of hiking trails, outdoor dining and, of course, mask wearing.
"They're coming here because of the natural outdoor beauty and they can naturally socially distance," Mintzer said. "But all of our operators whether they're hotel/motels, restaurants, have taken all of the restrictions to the nth degree in terms of safety protocols. So, we've instituted everything from signage to having businesses to take an additional safety pledge."
The chamber is distributing masks with its tourism logo on it at the visitors center and handing out safety pledge signs to businesses. It's all meant to assure visitors they will be safe to travel there.
The North Country itself has had relatively low infection rates compared to most of the rest of the state during the pandemic. That's made areas like Lake George an attractive option for people who want to leave crowded cities.
But it's getting cold out. That's why the locally owned Holiday Inn has set up fire pits for people to stay outside a little longer even when the temperatures getting a little colder. Here's Vinnie Crocitto whose family owns the hotel on Canada Street.
"Mother Nature offers a whole new set of obtacles when you get into the fall months," he said "But we've got fire pits all over the property, fire pits on the dining lounge, and five fires right here, plus outdoor heaters on the Harvest Bar itself so people can stay toasty from the start of the event right up until the end of the night."
There's also a financial imperative here for officials and business owners. Communities like Lake George and Warren County rely on tourists to help fill sales and occupancy tax coffers that have been decimated during the pandemic as businesses shutdown earlier this year to contain the spread of the virus.
Lake George is a perennial vacation for many families. But busines leaders are quick to add that this year it's been many first time vacationers to the area who have traveled to the village this year.